Today it’s easier than ever to find hiking trails near you. This site has turn-by-turn directions for all the hikes, along with maps, GPX files, and other resources. The idea is that you can feel confident about where you are going, not get lost, and have a fun hike.
Once you know where you’re going to hike, make sure you have the essential gear. Having the right gear will not only make your hike more enjoyable, but will also ensure you stay safe. And if you’re not an expert in the outdoors, make sure you read up on hiking basics, tips, and technique, especially this article with insider tips. A little knowledge can go a long way.
Here are the hikes that I have on HikingGuy.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, feel free to recommend a hike for me to include on the blog. I’m adding hikes all the time.
You can also check out sites like AllTrails.com, EveryTrail.com, SummitPost.org, and GaiaGPS to find hikes. I read Backpacker Magazine for hike ideas. Their website is also a resource but is kind of klunky. Search for hiking groups on Reddit for up to date tips and recommendations.
Don’t forget hiking guide books. I actually prefer them over a digital resource because I can put it in my pack to help navigate. REI has some great trail guides that offer worldwide coverage. For UK and international folks, Stanfords is the ultimate travel and map geeks store, around since 1853.
National Parks are obvious great choices, but don’t forget to Google your state and county parks for some less crowded gems. Typically parks have PDF maps online to help you plan your hike. If you’re stuck in the city, do an urban hike. The important thing is that you get outside and get moving.
Connect with me on social media to stay in the loop on the latest hikes.
Everyone will have an opinion here, so here’s mine. I think the Cactus to the Clouds hike in Palm Springs is the toughest. It climbs about 10,000 feet in 19 miles. It’s not only tough because of that, but because you are in pretty harsh terrain. Best left for experienced and fit hikers.
Another question I get asked a lot. And obviously, a lot has to do with personal preference. I could pick a lot of great options off the top of my head: northern Montana, Portland, Boulder, Moab, but the one that checks the most boxes off my list is Southern California. You have high mountains, urban hikes, coastal hikes, and desert hikes all within striking range. If you want snow, winter brings cold weather to the higher altitudes and you can reach them in an hour or so. And if you don’t, it’s basically nice out every day. Really an outdoor lover’s paradise.
There are plenty of long distance hiking trails around the world, with the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail being the most famous. Embarking on one of these hikes is a big time bucket list item and often takes months. If you don’t have the time to devote a few months to hiking, you can do something called “section hiking” where you hike smaller chunks of a longer trail at different times. Section hiking is nice because you can hit the highlights of a longer trail system without dedicating months to the effort. My friend Brian has a very comprehensive list of 50 long distance trails in the USA on his site.
|Goat Hill Overlook Hike||1||70||Easy||Leashed|
|Hike the Pumpkin Rock Trail||1.2||370||Easy||Yes|
|Lambertville Wing Dam Hike||1.6||100||Easy||Leashed|
|Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Hike||2.3||350||Moderate||No|
|Kenneth Hahn Park Hike||2.4||305||Easy||Leashed|
|Ralph Stover State Park High Rocks Hike||2.7||690||Easy||Leashed|
|Hike Holy Jim Falls Trail||2.8||650||Easy||Yes|
|Washington Crossing State Park Hike to Bowmans Tower||3||525||Easy||No|
|Camelback Mountain Hike – Cholla Trail||3.1||1540||Hard||No|
|Torrey Pines Hike||3.3||540||Easy||No|
|Triple Falls Hike||3.3||730||Easy||Leashed|
|Punchbowl Falls Hike||3.4||580||Easy||Leashed|
|Runyon Canyon Hike||3.5||970||Moderate||Yes|
|Whiting Ranch Hiking: Red Rock Canyon||4.2||420||Easy||No|
|Cowles Mountain Hike||4.3||1189||Moderate||Yes|
|McDowell Sonoran Preserve Hike||4.5||620||Easy||Leashed|
|Hiking Stonewall Peak Trail||5.4||1050||Easy-Moderate||No|
|Echo Mountain Hike||5.4||1500||Hard||Leashed|
|Peters Canyon Hike||5.9||680||Moderate||Leashed|
|Hike Cuyamaca Peak||6||1670||Moderate||Leashed|
|The Easy Hollywood Sign Hike||6||1000||Moderate||Leashed|
|Dog Mountain Hike||6.2||3470||Hard||Leashed|
|Black Star Canyon Hike||7.1||1100||Moderate||Yes|
|Hike the Bedford Peak Trail (Orange County)||7.2||2150||Hard||Yes|
|Delaware Canal State Park Towpath Hike||7.2||150||Easy||Leashed|
|Bulls Island State Park – Delaware River Trail||7.5||175||Easy||Yes|
|Laguna Coast Wilderness Park Hike||7.5||1210||Hard||No|
|Mount Baden-Powell Hike||8.3||2620||Hard||Yes|
|Crystal Cove Hike||9||990||Moderate||No|
|Sitton Peak Hike||9.2||2200||Moderate||Leashed|
|Caspers Wilderness Park – Hike San Juan Hot Springs||10.5||2030||Moderate||No|
|Mt Baldy Hike||11||3830||Hard||Yes|
|Cucamonga Peak Hike||12||4300||Hard||Leashed|
|Hike Mt Baldy on the Bear Canyon Trail||12.6||5740||Very Hard||Leashed|
|Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat||14.5||4110||Hard||Leashed|
|Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak||14.7||4170||Hard||Leashed|
|Hike White Mountain Peak (California)||15||3450||Hard||Leashed|
|Modjeska Peak Hike||15||5160||Hard||Yes|
|Hiking on Catalina Island to Parsons Landing Campsite||15||3600||Easy||No|
|Saddleback Mountain Hike (Santiago Peak)||15.6||3920||Hard||Yes|
|San Bernardino Peak Hike||16||4650||Hard||Yes|
|Hike the Three T’s Trail||17.6||5635||Hard||Yes|
|San Gorgonio Hike||18.5||5390||Very Hard||Yes|
|Hike Mount San Jacinto From Idyllwild||19.5||5080||Hard||No|
|Hike Indian Truck Trail to Santiago Peak||21||5670||Hard||Yes|
|Cactus to Clouds Hike||21||10800||Extremely Hard||No|
|Mt Whitney Hike||22||6100||Very Difficult||No|
A short, easy hike with great views of New Hope, Lambertville, and the Delaware RIver. The hike to Goat Hill Overlook takes you to the spot where George Washington and once stood.
The hike to Pumpkin Rock is one of those things you just have to do at least once. It’s obviously a great Halloween hike, and there are lots of photo opportunities. The trails to Pumpkin Rock can be confusing — this guide gives you the main route up, complete with parking and bathrooms.
A short hike to the scenic Lambertville wing dam, which brings you (literally) into the middle of the Delaware River.
The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook hike offers views and quick hiking fix in the middle of LA. On a clear day you can see from the Pacific Ocean to the San Gabriel Mountains.
The Kenneth Hahn Park hike brings you through a natural oasis in the middle of west LA. There’s tons of wildlife, great sunsets, and views of downtown LA. In fact, Kenneth Hahn Park is where many professional photographers come to get a photo of downtown LA with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.
The High Rocks hike at Ralph Stover State Park offers scenic cliffside views of Tohickon Creek and quintessential Bucks County scenery. This hike is a local’s favorite.
The Holy Jim Falls Trail hike is an easy hike to a small waterfall tucked into the heart of the Santa Ana Mountains. The Holy Jim Falls Trail is family friendly and well marked.
This easy hike takes you to Bowman’s Tower, through Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, and then ends at historic soldier graves from 1776 at Washington Crossing State Park. It’s a great hike with tons to see in a short distance.
This Camelback Mountain hike takes the easier and more scenic Cholla Trail. It’s still a tough hike, but the Cholla Trail is a nicer way to hike Camelback Mountain, a must-do Phoenix hike.
This Torrey Pines hike takes you to the best of the park – rare Torrey Pines, ocean views, and unique geology. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is one of those once in a lifetime destinations, I highly recommend this hike!
The Triple Falls hike from Oneonta Gorge is scenic, great for beginners, and doesn’t have the big crowds that many other Columbia Gorge hikes have. And you get to see three waterfalls along the way!
The Punchbowl Falls hike is one of the most beautiful hikes in Colombia River Gorge. This hike has waterfalls, cliffs, and scenery straight out of the Lord of the Rings. It’s easy to understand how Punchbowl Falls is a local’s favorite.
The Runyon Canyon hike is unique – it’s a patch of wilderness right in the middle of Hollywood. Often visited by celebs, this hike’s won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and is worth a visit.
There’s a few Whiting Ranch hiking options, but Red Rock Canyon is the most popular for a good reason. The hike is mellow, easy, and ends in a smooth red rock canyon like you’d see in Arizona (but unique to Orange County).
The Cowles Mountain hike brings you to the highest point in San Diego, with views from Mexico to Orange County. It’s a tough little climb, and there are a few routes to the top. This hiking route is the most scenic, has the best parking situation, and the least crowds. It’s a great, safe beginners hike, and a must-do if you’re in San Diego.
This McDowell Sonoran Preserve hike offers well-marked trails, easy climbs, nice views, and classic Sonoran desert scenery. And unlike Camelback Mountain, McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a peaceful oasis where you can connect with nature and unwind.
Hiking the Stonewall Peak Trail to the summit is one of my favorite hikes. At the top you’ll find a stone lookout with 360 views of the surrounding peaks. It’s one of the more unique summits out there and worth a visit.
The Echo Mountain Hike packs a lot of bang for the buck. The hike is easy to follow, has great views, is a good workout, and ends at ruins of an old hotel. These directions have an optional hike to the viewpoint at Inspiration Point.
This Peters Canyon hike takes you on a 6 mile tour of the 340-acre Peters Canyon Park. The hike offers panoramic views and wildlife spotting opportunities, right in the middle of Orange County.
The hike to Cuyamaca Peak brings you to San Diego County’s second highest point at 6,512 feet. It’s only 20 feet lower than the highest peak, but much easier to hike. The views you get are incredible and make this hike worth your time.
The Hollywood Sign hike is one of those iconic hikes that you need to do at least once. Not only will you hike to the Hollywood Sign, but you’ll get some spectacular views of LA along the way.
The Dog Mountain hike isn’t easy, but it has the best panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge and Cascades high peaks. It’s also a great hike to avoid the crowds that you’d encounter on easier Columbia River Gorge hikes.
The Black Star Canyon hike is a local favorite for a reason. The hike follows Black Star Creek to Black Star Canyon Falls, and there’s even a haunted history to ponder as you hike through this beautiful part of Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park.
The Bedford Peak hike in Orange County is a tough one with big payoffs. The trail to Bedford Peak climbs about 2000 feet in 3 miles, and your reward is great views of Mt Baldy, Saddleback Mountain, and Catalina.
This easy hike along the Delaware Canal State Park is full of beauty and history. Shaded paths, river views, and peace and quiet are the hallmarks of this hike, suitable for all levels of hiker.
This hike from Stockton, NJ to Bulls Island State Park takes you on a loop through NJ and PA along the Delaware River Trail, with great river views. Although it’s a little long, it’s very flat and a great hike for beginners.
This Laguna Coast Wilderness Park hike takes you through the best of the park. The trails wind through some of the last remaining undeveloped coastal canyons in Southern California, with great views, lush canyon paths, unique geology, and lots of wildlife.
Bringing you to one of the highest peaks in the San Gabriel mountains at 9,399 feet, the Mount Baden-Powell hike offers 360 views from the summit. It’s a fun hike with 40 switchbacks and a manageable distance.
Crystal Cove State Park offers pristine coastal nature, ocean views, and well marked trails. This Crystal Cove hike takes you on a best-of loop, with great views of the mountains, ocean, and on a clear day, Catalina. One of my favorite hikes. There’s also a shorter route, see the hike details for more info.
The Sitton Peak hike offers great 360 views of the Santa Ana Mountains, San Diego County, Orange County, and Catalina on a clear day. The hike to Sitton Peak is much easier than the hike to Saddleback Mountain, with views that are comparable. The trail has some flat sections to catch your breath, making it a great hike for beginners.
Caspers Wilderness Park is home to the San Juan Hot Springs hike, which is long but very doable. The hike can be done as an out-and-back trip, or you can do a longer 14 mile loop that circles Caspers Wilderness Park and offers incredible views.
The Mt Baldy hike brings you to the highest point in LA at 10,064 feet. With about 4000 feet of climbing, it’s a tough yet popular hike, and well worth the effort. You can see from the Pacific to the Mojave on a clear day.
With one of the coolest summits in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Cucamonga Peak hike is a favorite. The climb is tough but not brutal, the scenery and views are awesome, and the crowds aren’t as bad as Mount Baldy.
Everyone hikes Mt Baldy from Manker Flats, but have you done it on the Bear Canyon Trail? Also known as Old Mt Baldy Trail, this hike to Mt Baldy is tougher but doesn’t have the crowds.
This Mt Wilson hike starts at Chantry Flat and gradually makes it way to the summit. Mt Wilson (5,710 feet) is the peak with all the radio towers that dominates the LA skyline. It’s a fun hike and a good long hike for beginners.
If you want a great mountain hike without the crowds, hike Ontario Peak (8,696 ft) and Bighorn Peak. You might see more bighorn sheep than people!
The hike to White Mountain Peak brings you to the third highest peak in California, only a few hundred feet lower that Mt Whitney. The hike is tough, but doable, and the peak is spectacular with incredible 360 views that stretch from the Eastern Sierra to Death Valley.
The Modjeska Peak hike is challenging – long, steep, and sometimes primitive. The hike climbs to the second highest point in Orange County, Modjeska Peak. The actual summit is undeveloped and much nicer than nearby Santiago Peak.
Hiking on Catalina Island offers some beautiful options, but I think the hike to and overnight at Parsons Landing campsite is the best. You’ll camp on a secluded beach, with the sounds of the waves as your soundtrack. There are only 8 campsites, the hike is easy, and the scenery is breathtaking. Do it. Do it.
Hiking Saddleback Mountain takes you to the highest point in Orange County, Santiago Peak. It’s also the highest point in the Santa Ana mountains. This hike takes the scenic Holy Jim Trail, which is also the shortest route to the summit.
The San Bernardino Peak (10,649 feet) hike is tough but rewarding. The crowds are light and it offers sweeping views of Mt Baldy, Mt San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, and the Inland Empire.
The Three T’s Trail hike is one of the more peaceful hikes in the Mt Baldy area. This loop hike starts at Icehouse Canyon, climbs to Icehouse Saddle, then hits Timber Mountain, Telegraph Peak, Thunder Mountain, and then descends down to Baldy Notch, Manker Flats, and back to Icehouse Canyon. It’s a long hike, but a favorite for those avoiding crowds.
At 11,503 feet, the San Gorgonio hike brings you to the highest peak in Southern California. The hike to San Gorgonio is an iconic SoCal hiker rite of passage, I highly recommend it. There are a few ways to hike to the peak. This hiking guide takes the Vivian Creek trail, which is the quickest way to the summit at 10 hours roundtrip. It’s a tough hike but doable in a day if you train for it.
John Muir called the views from Mount San Jacinto the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth! On a clear day, you can see from Catalina Island to Southern Utah. To hike Mount San Jacinto from Idyllwild, you’ll need a good level of fitness, it’s a tough one.
The Indian Truck Trail offers an alternate way to hike Santiago Peak (Saddleback Mountain). The Indian Truck Trail is long, not too technical, and a great training hike for Mt Whitney.
The Cactus to Clouds hike is epic. It has over 10,000 feet of climbing, with a large stretch on the treacherous Skyline Trail, the Cactus to Clouds hike should only be attempted by the very experienced and very fit hiker.
The Mt Whitney hike is on every hiker’s bucket list. At 14,505 feet, it’s the highest point in the lower 48, and is one of those rare high peaks that you can hike to without any mountaineering skills. There is some prep work you need to do, like getting your Mt Whitney permit. This hike guide has everything you need to know to successfully climb Mt Whitney. That includes choosing a route, getting your permit, extra hiking gear considerations, planning your trip, training, and dealing with altitude. Keep reading for all the info.